Chairs in the grounding room at Sec-he Spa

The wait is over. On April 4, the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians unveiled The Spa at Séc-he, the 5-star spa we all have been waiting for in anticipation. The security walls that kept us intrigued for so long are now removed, revealing an enchanting place where one can relax and rejuvenate in downtown Palm Springs.

If you are staying in one of the Palm Springs Preferred Hotels, the good news is that the spa is within walking distance of many properties. You will want to make sure to make reservations — word is quickly spreading about how fabulous this place is, for so many reasons.

I want to give you an up-close-and-personal view, as I was honored to be invited to the grand opening and spend a day at this stunning spa. Would you believe seven hours felt like it wasn’t enough?

The hot mineral springs

The Agua Caliente have been keepers and protectors of Palm Springs’ only hot mineral springs since the late 1880s. With a temperature of 105 degrees, the mineral-rich hot water arrives from 8,000 feet below the surface, and is known for easing joint and muscle aches and even skin conditions. In the language of the Cahuilla Indians, “séc-he” means the sound of boiling water, thus Séc-he was coined for this new Palm Springs spa.

The Spa at Séc-he has 22 separate hot mineral tubs, and you can bathe alone in your own room for 15 minutes. After each person leaves, the tub is emptied and refilled with the healing waters.

Pro tip: Leave your jewelry at home because the water’s minerals will tarnish it.

One of the private tubs. Photo by Kathy Condon

Massages 

General Manager Daniel Spencer has searched the world, asked lots of questions, and now has ensured that Séc-he’s staff is trained on all eight kinds of massages offered at the spa. That means services like the Quartz and Poultice Massage may result in you wandering out into the Tranquility Garden feeling relaxed and totally at peace with the world.

I had the Restoring Energy Massage, which includes essences of sandalwood, peppermint, and vetiver for releasing anxiety and assisting with the immune system. I can’t say if I enjoyed the reflexology or the re-energizing balance more, which are both part of this particular massage. In any case, it was heavenly.

Body scrubs and wraps

There are way too many to mention, but with each treatment, you lie on a quartz bed treatment table that is heated and takes your mind to your favorite warm tropical beach. Afterward, you can use the eucalyptus steam room and menthol sauna, then follow it up with an aromatherapy shower. In fact, the entire spa smells wonderful. All the ingredients used in the treatments are local indigenous herbs rich in minerals and botanical oil extract.

Lounge areas are everywhere

Frankly, I have never seen so many lounge areas. Some are coed so that you can enjoy your partner’s company, and outside there are cabanas and day beds, which you can rent, and umbrellas to protect you from the intense desert sun.

The freshwater pool is enormous, complete with a waterfall. There are chairs submerged at one end of the pool, so you are surrounded by water and can hear the calming sound of the waterfall in the distance. In the same area, off to your left, there is a zero-edge pool with mineral water, where you can “take in the waters,” as the Cahuilla Indians would say.

A zero-edge pool

The zero-edge pool. Photo by Kathy Condon

Day Pass amenities

The Day Pass is $145, but if you have a treatment over $200 booked, you do not have to pay that fee. Here’s what the Day Pass includes:

  • Dressing rooms with secure lockers
  • Robes and slippers (be sure to bring your swimming suit)
  • 15 minutes in the mineral springs tub (you won’t feel rushed)
  • Access to the outside pools, both fresh and mineral water
  • Access to a state-of-the-art fitness room
  • Grounding room
  • Tranquility room
  • Two salt rooms
  • Eucalyptus steam room
  • Menthol sauna
  • Aromatherapy showers
  • Cold-rinse experience
  • Lounge areas
  • Quiet room

I was there for seven hours and realized I still had some amenities to explore. This truly is a place where you slow down and can have several different relaxing experiences.

Other services with additional fees

The massages, body scrubs, and wraps have different prices, and Séc-he also offers several additional services for a fee:

  • Floatation
  • Cryotherapy
  • Facials (at the moment, there are nine different kinds)
  • Organic skin care treatments
  • Nail care
  • Hair salon

When you read this, I wouldn’t be surprised if more treatments are added, for this experiential spa never stops stretching its capabilities — be sure to check their website.

Pro tip: The spa is 18 and over. The nail and hair care salons are available to children and young adults.

The nail salon and its comfortable chairs. Photo by Kathy Condon

Food service at two restaurants

The Malmal Café is open to the public. You can stop in and get flavorful Mediterranean-inspired cold items. The salads are delicious, and pick your favorite beverage to go with them. I suggest you try one of their juices or smoothies. The Monkey Berry smoothie made with banana, strawberries, vanilla bean, low-fat yogurt, milk, and latte powder passed and made it to my terrific taste list. I am also still thinking about my great panini, made with grilled chicken and avocado. Sooooo good! 

If you have a treatment or buy the Day Pass, you can access the poolside Pal Bar. Your food and drinks will be delivered to wherever you are sitting in the pool area.

Five stars all around

As if you need to hear it from me, but I wanted to stress to the readers that Séc-he is not only beautiful, its customer service and amenities would be hard to find or beat any place in the world. I give it five stars.

Please do yourself a favor after you make a reservation at one of our Palm Springs Preferred Hotels: Go to the Séc-he website and book a service or two so you can be one of the first visitors to check out this extraordinary addition to downtown Palm Springs.

“In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different.”
– Coco Chanel

Named after Saint Valentine, the patron saint of lovers, epileptics, and beekeepers (weird three to lump together, but whatever), Valentine’s Day somehow took on the persona of the Greek god of love, Eros, which then morphed into Cupid, the god of desire. So now Valentine’s Day is symbolized by a chubby baby flying around with a magical bow and arrow shooting people in the heart with expectations of a lusty outcome. Fun!

The expectations and nerves leading up to Valentine’s Day are also (à la Gwen Stefani) B.A.N.A.N.A.S. Candy, a card, flowers, a fancy dinner, and perhaps a piece of jewelry are de rigueur, and while those are nice, why not do something different? Something that shows the object of your affection your creative streak. Here are some ideas to make the day a little easier (I got you!):

Date One: The Outdoor Adventure Date

What you’ll need: hiking shoes, a backpack, and dress in layers

Breakfast: Cheeky’s for breakfast. It’s very popular and it’s busy. 

Coffee: Koffi is great, but try something new, like Ernest Coffeehouse

Lunch to go: The Sandwich Spot. Pre-order your sandwiches and put them in your backpack. Or try On The Mark for a fancier fare.

Adventure: The Tram. Take it up the mountain (wear your mask, you are in an enclosed gondola). Once you get to the top, there are great views, telescopes, and two places to eat. Explore the manmade stuff and then hike your trail. You can see all of them here, and make your choice with your date.

Alternative adventure option: Replace the tram with a hike in either Indian Canyons (so  many trails!) or a lazier sexy hike at Tahquitz (tah’quits) Canyon to Tahquitz Falls. Once you get to the falls, it’s lunch time. Dangle your feet in the clear pool and enjoy. Don’t forget to pack up everything (no littering please) and hike back to civilization.

Dinner: The Rooster and Pig is only doing takeout at the time of this typing, but check the website. Things are opening back up. In keeping with the Asian theme, we have Fusion Five for pho, and 533 Viet Fusion on the south end of Palm Springs. If you want the best burger in town, head over to The Heyday. They also have a delicious magic mushroom burger (the magic is it tastes like beef, it doesn’t get you high). If you choose the Heyday option, you can go to the casino after and try your luck! 

Date Two: Bagels, Antiquing, Thrifting, Smok’em If You’ve Got’em

What you’ll need: A sense of adventure and a car. This date takes you to the south end of Palm Springs.

Breakfast: Townie Bagels — a very busy breakfast spot, but it gets you across the street from your first stop.

Cannabis?: If you’re cannabis friendly, there are three dispensaries in this area. Have an edible and let’s get on our now merry way.

Antiques, thrift stores, trading posts are across the street from Townies, and all along Industrial Place.

Antique Galleries, 505 Industrial Place gets you to the Antique Galleries and you can use your eyeballs from there.

Sunny Dunes Antique Mall, 507 E Sunny Dunes Rd. Sprawling shop featuring antique dealers selling vintage furniture, jewelry, and other collectibles.

Little Shop of Treasures, 616 E Sunny Dunes Rd. Unassuming store selling an array of antique furnishings, collectibles, clothes, and dishes.

Q Trading Co., 606 E Sunny Dunes Rd. Get your car and go to Sun Center Mall (turn right on Palm Canyon, then it’s less than half a block on your left).

Revivals, 611 South Palm Canyon Drive. This is a great little thrift store that benefits Desert AIDS Project.

Lunch options at Sun Center: 

Palm Greens Cafe — Organic and vegan

PS Air inside Bouschet — Yummy salads

Spaghetteria for pizza

Lunch options at The Plaza (near your next stop):

Farm — Outstanding lunch selections, French inspired

More antiquing and thrifting:

P S Trading,140 N Palm Canyon Dr.

Bon Vivant, 766 N Palm Canyon Dr · Near Trio Restaurant, (760) 534-3197

a La MOD INC, 886 N Palm Canyon Dr · Near Trio Restaurant, (760) 327-0707

Deja Vu Vintage Finery, 664 N Palm Canyon Dr.

Flow Modern, 768 N Palm Canyon Dr.

Mohave Flea Trading Post, 383 Indian Canyon Dr..

Angel View Resale, 462 N Indian Canyon Dr.

Dinner: Birba — New wave Italian American fare. Sit on the twinkly patio.

Date Three: Spaaaah Date

Yoga in the Park

Breakfast: L’Atelier in the Plaza. Pastries, quiche, salads, and champagne.

Spa options: 

Our Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels have some exceptional spa options in gorgeous settings.

Palm Springs Beautiful Spa Massage, 109 S Indian Canyon Dr. (760) 656-1028

Palm Springs Spa Massage, 471 E Tahquitz Canyon Way #226. (760) 808-4205

Lunch: grab and go eat in the new park (on Museum Way down from Marilyn). 

Haus of Poke

Stout Burgers

After the spa, check out the Palm Springs Art Museum, Marilyn Statue, and art installations. Behind The Block on Museum Way.

Dinner: It’s been a nice relaxing day, and dressing up and going out to dinner might be a bit much. If you’re a planner, a few weeks in advance you can order a custom dinner from Three Queens Catering. I recently went to an event they catered and the food was awesome! Plus, I know two of them, and they are some of the funniest people on the planet.

Bar Cecil (pronounced Sess’-ill) — Super fancy and the trendiest place in Palm Springs right now.

John Henry’s — Off the beaten path on Tahquitz on the way to the airport. Blink and you’ll miss it.

Date Four: Classic Palm Springs and the Rat Pack

Breakfast: Spencer’s, Grand Central, Melvyn’s at the Ingleside Inn

Coffee: Gre Coffeehouse — Great cup of java and vinyls to peruse and purchase.

Adventure: You’ll need a car. Download the Palm Springs Life tour app. It will take you on three different tours. That should take up most of your day.

Alternate plans: Open houses! This site tells you where they are the day of.

Lunch: Holiday House

Drinks: Del Rey inside Villa Royale or Melvyn’s

Dinner: Johnny Costa’s is super old school Italian fare with a Rat Pack vibe. The chef was one of Frank Sinatra’s favorites. Try the chicken parm.

Date Five: Traditional Valentine’s Day

Toffee from Brandini’s

Flowers (in advance) from Jensen’s (a beautiful plant will remind them of you year- round)

Valentine’s Day card from Just Fabulous

Dinner at Tropicale, Copley’s, Roly China Fusion (by the pool)

Finish up your evening at Dead or Alive Wine Bar or Seymour’s (inside Mr. Lyons) on the south end of town. Both are quiet and great before sexy times — if that’s your goal.

Happy Arrow-Slinging Chubby Baby Day everyone! I hope you’re with someone you love, and as the song says, “If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with.”

Lizzie Sherman, Creative Director at The Spa Insider, recently interviewed Alyssa McDonald, Director of Spa Operations, to gain an insider’s perspective about what makes a visit to L’Horizon Resort & Spa the perfect choice for a relaxing Palm Springs getaway.  Hint: Prepare to relax just reading about it.

A patio swing

Gorgeous rooms? Check. Relaxing spa with a variety of services? Check. A sparkling pool? Check. Restaurant with rooftop lounge and intriguing cocktails? Check.

Everything you need for the perfect Palm Springs stay is at La Serena Villas. Originally built in 1933 as a 26-unit hotel, this resort in the Historic Tennis Club neighborhood was redeveloped as a luxury hotel in 2016 by architect May Sung. The 18 secluded villas each have a private patio with a clawfoot tub, fire pit, and built-in benches, with Avenue Interior Design behind every room’s furniture, finishes, and materials.

Whispers Spa offers facials, massages, and body treatments, while Azucar restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Enjoy dining in the restaurant or sipping cocktails at Sugar High, the rooftop lounge. The hotel, owned by Lars Viklund, has a Spanish colonial feel, and is next door to one of his other properties, the Del Marcos Hotel, and across from his latest acquisition, The Three Fifty Hotel.

Palm Springs boutique hotels offer spa-mazing pampering services, from facials to massages to body treatments

Tranquil and calming, Whispers at La Serena Villas is a retreat where outside worries melt away. Guests must silence their phones and speak in a whisper, ensuring everyone has a stress-free experience. The spa has several signature services, including a facial, customized for every client to restore complexion vitality. Other standouts include the Whispers of Warmth Stone Massage, a deeply-relaxing heat therapy, and the Treat Your Feet add-on, a 30-minute reflexology treatment that also exfoliates. A couple’s room is available upon request. Whispers at La Serena Villas, 339 S. Belardo Road, Palm Springs. 844-932-8044

Wellness-minded travelers looking for relaxation and rejuvenation will find it at The Monkey Tree Hotel, home to the only Scandinavian spa in Palm Springs. A Scandinavian spa offers a hydrotherapy experience like none other — visitors alternate between hot and cold to alleviate stress, soothe tired muscles, and eliminate toxins. The Monkey Tree Hotel’s facility allows guests to spend their day cycling through a newly-built dry sauna and hot and cold plunge pools at no additional cost. For those looking for some extra pampering, the hotel can arrange in-room massages with 24-hours notice. The Monkey Tree Hotel, 2388 E. Racquet Club Road, Palm Springs. 760-322-6059

Get balanced at L’Horizon’s The Spa, an indoor-outdoor experience. Before a treatment, guests are invited to relax inside The Spa’s white canvas cabanas, and afterwards, they can rinse off using private outdoor showers. There are four treatment rooms and a juice bar, with services including massages, facials, body treatments, and aromatherapy. The Enhancements and Enrichments add-ons are just as exciting — who doesn’t want to follow up their massage with a Wild Lime Scalp Treatment that stimulates circulation and relieves tension. Or include a facial with Eye Contour, which reduces puffiness, under eye discoloration, and the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. L’Horizon’s The Spa, 1050 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. 760-323-1858

Yoga enthusiasts and newbies can spend their Sunday mornings at the Moroccan-styleKorakia Pensione participating in complimentary yoga sessions. These classes begin at 8:30 a.m. and provide guests the opportunity to start their day off centered, calm, and illuminated. Each class is tailored towards students’ abilities. Private sessions are also available for a fee and can be arranged at the front desk. Weather permitting, meditation sessions are offered on property. Massages using all natural skin products can be booked for the Korakia’s indoor/outdoor spa lodge or in room. Their most-loved treatments include the Hot Bamboo Massage, Eucalyptus Rock Massage, and Aloe Lavender Body Wrap. Korakia Pensione, 257 S. Patencio Road, Palm Springs. 760-864-6411

The spa at the Andreas Hotel offers a delightful escape for guests, local residents, and visitors staying at neighboring hotels. Massages include the classic Swedish, Warm Stone, and Lymphatic, and the spa is known for several signature facials — the Ageless Facial, Age Later Face Lift, Oxygen Facial, Clear Cell, or Gent’s Facial. Book a solo treatment or one of the spa’s packages for couples — the Paradise for Two includes champagne, fresh fruit, Image facials, and therapeutic massages, while the Romance Andreas Style features mineral soaks, therapeutic massages, and clay body masques. Body treatments, nail, and waxing services are also available. The Spa at Andreas, 130 Andreas Road East, Palm Springs. 760-325-0900

The pristine Men’s Spa at La Dolce Vita Resort and Spa is a standout in the desert. All of the therapists are male, and have been certified by the state of California. They have designed their massages, facials, and body treatments specifically for men, with specialties including the Sweet Life Massage, a full-body massage using a combination of Swedish, deep tissue, and pressure point techniques, and the Romeo and Romeo Couples Massage. Visitors are also welcome to either come early or stick around after their treatments to use the property’s two swimming pools, whirlpools, and steam room. La Dolce Vita Resort and Spa, 1491 S. Via Soledad, Palm Springs. 760-325-2686

Relaxation is the name of the game at East Canyon Hotel and Spa. The resort primarily caters to gay clientele and is not clothing optional, and has a fully-licensed spa, with trained therapists offering soothing facials, massages, and body treatments. Under new ownership, the spa is being refreshed and upgraded. East Canyon Resort and Spa, 288 E. Camino Monte Vista, Palm Springs. 760-320-1928

There’s no better way to unwind than by staying at Palm Springs small hotel with spa services. Discover more by visiting https://www.palmspringspreferredsmallhotels.com/ or Facebook to explore a unique collection of over seventy independently owned small hotels – several of which offer unforgettably relaxing spa services that can be invigorating or relaxing, a quiet retreat or an energizing pick-me-up.

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